6.15. Ideally, the time of recording of goods should coincide with the time of change of ownership. However, international trade statistics do not adopt this concept and for the most part it is impractical to adjust goods to a time of ownership change. The flow of documentation from the importer/exporter to Australian Customs Service and then to the ABS is illustrated diagrammatically in box 6.3. The time of recording of exports and imports is explained more fully in box 6.4.
6.16. Selected timing adjustments are made to international trade statistics to bring certain goods to a time of change of ownership basis. These include adjusting data on:
- ships and aircraft to the date on which the businesses in Australia sell (export) or take delivery of (import) those ships and aircraft;
- exports and imports of major items of defence equipment;
- wool exports to take account of wool shipped on a consignment basis to depots abroad and sold in a later period from those depots; and
Adjustments are also made to imports, from time to time, to take account of distortions which arise when significant changes occur in the volume of import entries lodged but not yet processed by the Australian Customs Service in any one period. Evidence of a variation of this type is obtained by monitoring work flow measures available from the Customs processing system.
- (until the June quarter 1988) other goods shipped on a consignment basis and which change ownership when they are sold abroad rather than when they cross the customs frontier.
6.4 TIME OF RECORDING IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE STATISTICS
|For exports, the measurement used is date of shipment, which reflects the time of physical movement of goods out of Australia. All exporters (or their agents) are required to lodge documentation with the Australian Customs Service prior to departure and then shipping companies and airlines are required to confirm the actual departure with cargo manifests. Export statistics have been compiled on this basis since the early 1990s and have been backcast on this basis to July 1981. Prior to then, exports were recorded in the month during which export entries were processed by Customs.|
|Imports are recorded in international trade statistics in the calendar month in which the import entries are finalised by the Australian Customs Service. Normally this is within a few days of discharge of cargo although, on occasion, import entries may be delayed before being passed on to the ABS. For that reason, recorded imports for a particular month do not necessarily represent either entries lodged or commodities actually imported during that month. Analysis of recorded imports data has shown that, in aggregate, about 90 per cent of imports by value recorded for a particular month actually arrive during that month; of the balance, the majority have actually arrived during earlier months, with the remainder yet to arrive. For individual commodities, the percentage by value representing actual arrivals in a month can vary considerably.|